Travelling and vacationing in 2020 is a whole new ballgame, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means we have to be smart about it. With our health and safety measures in place, and more frequencies now offered in the Québec City to Windsor corridor, we’ve got your staycations and daycations covered.
We’ve always been firm believers that some of the best vacation spots are close to home in Canada, and now it’s your turn to find out why. There has—quite literally—never been a better time to explore places nearby, so we’re taking you on a tour of “the Corridor”, to small towns and great places to see in larger cities where you’ll feel both safe and inspired.
We’ve been there before, and we’re going back again. Our first stop is Prince Edward County (PEC), a little oasis from big town life. It’s made up of many smaller towns and hamlets, each with its own modest main street lined with independent shops. And here is where smaller towns shine: fewer people, more personalized service, and well-curated family-owned businesses.
Why you should go to PEC now
A reimagined Countylicious, featuring chefs from away partnering with local talent, starts next week and runs until November 22. The now updated gastronomical shindig features ten one-of-a-kind culinary events across the County as well as the prix-fixe options that we know and love. Make sure to reserve ahead! In these times when we could all use a little comforting, there isn’t much that soothes the soul better than great food and drink.
Then there’s Wassail, and olden tradition that makes you take note of the magic that still lives in small, rural towns. During this folklore-esque ritual, together locals and visitors raise a glass (or two, or three) to toast the grape vines that are “put to rest” for the long chilly winter. The vines do an excellent job keeping everyone in great spirits (heh heh), even as they get tucked in for their well-deserved hibernation.
It’s a lovely send off that happens over three weekends from late November to early December. This year, it’ll be a bit different and more socially distanced, but what it won’t be is any less fun.
Get Out and About
With its unique microclimate, the island of PEC not only hosts a plethora of vineyards, it has tons of green space (with over a dozen conservation areas and three provincial parks on the one island!). Getting outside in the fall is perfect because not only do temperatures cool down, so do the crowds.
Want to have a hiking trail (most likely) all to yourself? Go in the off season – and bring a camera. Sandbanks Provincial Park is the go-to for most, but also check out Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area and the Millennium Trail – a 49-km multiuse trail that runs through The County.
The County’s biggest draw is undoubtedly its wine. There are over 40 wineries that take advantage of the rich terroir unique to PEC, and many of them have adapted to the times and are offering reduced-capacity tours. With both remaining open well into autumn, you can book tastings in advance at Trail Estate Winery and Sandbanks Winery.
How to Get There (and get around)
The best way to get to PEC in our humble opinion (ahem, ahem) is the train, the closest stop being our station in Belleville. A jaunt around PEC does require wheels, so stop at the Discount car rental kiosk located in the train station and grab yourself some transportation.
Where to Stay
We’re loving the motel option, especially now. Having your own little home for a couple nights with your own “front door” means fewer hallway run-ins and no common spaces to worry about. Try the Picton Harbour Inn, in Picton, or Angeline’s Inn, in Bloomfield that also offers full cottages.
Rules and regulations around travel are changing quickly. When planning your visit to PEC, keep an eye on visitpec.ca for COVID-19 information, updates and local travel inspiration.
Header image: Angeline’s Inn Babylon Log House in Bloomfield. Photo by @angelinesinn